A/N: Sadly, this is the very final chapter to this story. I'll take this time thank each and every reviewer for their words of kindness, encouragement, constructive criticism, and the helpful advise. Specifically, I'd like to thank Majikaru Rin for her energetic reviews, FlareKnight for the deep and thoughtful words, and Crazylobo for having enough interest to have a PM conversation about the story. All of you guy and gals deserve my thanks. Now that is out of the way, I will ask all of you to remember to do something for me. On May 6th, I will be releasing the trailer to my next project, fanfiction to those who are confused. Remember, May 6th is the date. It will be on Youtube and under the screen-name Goldpen360.
Epilogue: Peace at Last
The world of the living was now back into its usual and mundane routine. To those who were at war, they were relieved to see that Fuyuki appeared as it did when they left. The people were back and the buildings were whole once again. In no time, the sun shone brightly and the life bustling around the town was in full bloom.
"Stupid tie," Archer loosened the accursed accessory as he glared into the mirror. He was careful not to be too loud, lest he be punished severely, 'Heh, to think I'd be reduced to this.' Archer stopped to reflect on his life up to this point. It was nothing to smile about, but he was happy that life was looking up for him. With a small chuckle, Archer swiveled on his heel and plucked the black suit-coat resting on the chair nearest him. He causally walked out of the bedroom and made his way down stairs, simply enjoying the feeling of having little worries. He was not waiting for the fangs of some demon to rip into his flesh, he was not figuring out how to beat another spirit to the Holy Grail, or worrying about his next fight. As he strolled into the spacious living room, he stopped to drink in the décor of the Tosaka mansion.
It was strange how he never got bored examining the walls and table-tops. He was never short on reading material, still having to finish three other walls of books. Another chuckle, 'Of course it's not like I have much time to read now a days.' His calm eyes shifted to the other person in the room, "Sorry for the trouble." He said with a friendly smirk.
The awed man snapped his attention to Archer, "Oh," He laughed nervously, "it's no problem, don't worry too much." His eyes went back to the various paintings and decorations, "It's an honor to be called out by the great Tosaka family." Silence followed the compliment, both men simply absorbing their surroundings.
After a few minutes of silence, Archer felt his pant-leg being tugged slightly. He turned and looked down, seeing a pair of innocent eyes looking up at him, "Daddy," The small voice started, "I can't tie my ribbon." A thin, crimson colored ribbon was held up in small hands.
Archer simply examined the child as he slowly took the ribbon, "Alright Rei," He looked into her bright teal eyes, "stand still okay?" He ran his hand through her charcoal hair as he knelt down in front of her, beginning to tie the ribbon. He was sure to go slow so that the girl could watch and learn, "Where's your sister?" His eyes flashed when he saw the small pout on her face.
Rei answered with the pout still firmly on her lips, "She was upstairs hogging the baphroom, I had to go get ready with mommy instead." When she saw that her ribbon was tied, she fiddled with the bow, making sure it was placed perfectly between both parts of her collar. She spun around in her black and red skirt and white shirt. The frills were ironed to perfection and everything was perfectly symmetrical. If Archer didn't know his wife, he would've believed Rei had O.C.D.
"So do you know where your brother is?" Archer smirked and slowly nodded when he heard a thud and some yelling, "Never mind," Archer chuckled while Rei giggled their eyes focused on the large staircase. As they expected, a crimson streak was seen descending the stairs and jumping over the railing, escaping the wrath of his mother.
Rei smiled broadly as her brother stopped next to her, trying to catch his breath, "Lium runs just like Daddy when Mommy's mad at him." Her giggles increased when Archer's laughing immediately ended.
Archer patted his son on the back, "Come see me sometime kiddo, I'll teach you how to deal with your mother."
"Thanks," Lium straightened and grinned up at his dad, "but I'll ask uncle Shirou for a solution that doesn't involve kissing her." He chuckled when Archer popped him over the head. His laughing ended when someone suddenly stuck their finger in either side of his mouth and pulled, "Ow," He looked down to see a mischievious grin, "Maggie, let go!" His words were slurred, but his fierce grey eyes told the girl the same message.
Maggie did as she was told and let go, roughly slapping either cheek before standing beside her sister Rei, "Such a baby," She sighed and leaned on Rei heavily.
Rei immediately whined and tried to shove her twin sister off of her, "Get off, you're heavy!"
"I'm not heavy, your just lack muscle."
"Do not, get off!"
"But I wuv you so much!"
"Ewww, stop it!"
"I jus want a kissy kissy,"
"EWWWW, Daddy, make her stop!"
Archer and Lium watched the twins bicker, both smiling softly as they did. When he noticed, Lium immediately wiped off the small smile, feigning annoyance instead, "Feh, girls." He straightened his tie and looked up at Archer, "So what's taking Mom so long, I still want to go out and play some ball with my friends sometime in my childhood."
"What was that Gillium?" The nine-year old froze and slowly looked back to see his mother looming over him. Rin Tosaka had her arms firmly folded, teal eyes showing suspicion and a bit of playfulness. She fought the urge to look at her twins, hearing them try to suppress their giggles at the scene.
"You got a lot to learn my son." Archer smirked, but he soon felt Rin's gaze fall upon him, "You look beautiful."
"You," She pointed at Archer, "couch, now!"
The calm man sighed and went over to the couch, "We're ready," He said to the shocked man still standing in the room. He plopped down on the fine British style couch, taking his usual position on the crimson cushions and enjoying the cool dark wood of the frame. He watched with a smile as the twins slipped under his spread arms, exchanging looks with their identical teal eyes. Rin easily took her usual position between his legs, Lium sitting at her feet with his mother's hands on either shoulder.
The stunned visitor raised his camera, observing the family through his lens. They looked near perfect, the prior exchange not even showing in the slightest on their faces, "Alright, say cheese," He said nervously. All members of the Tosaka family smiled broadly, the love they shared for each other clearly showing on their faces. He snapped the photo, still stunned by the sight, "The uh, photos will be done in two days, just pick them up at the store and you'll be set." He took three more photos and one of each child, fighting the urge to ask about Lium's white hair that he obviously got from his father.
After the photographer left, Lium tore off his tie, "FINALLY, FREEDOM!" He took one step to the door, but Rin was quick to stop him, "Aw Mom," He whined and looked back at her.
Rin redirected him to his room, "Hurry and change, we're going to visit your uncle Shirou and aunt Arturia." She smiled when the twins started cheering, excited to see their 'Auntie Saber'. Even Lium's face lit up, excited to see his cousins and watch his dad tease his uncle as usual.
"You know," Emiya Shirou rubbed the bump on his head, "I'm starting to have second thoughts about teaching our kids how to use these things." He held up a wooden sword and placed it on the wall. He yelped when he felt something hit his head, feeling the gaze of the blonde behind him, "Ow,"
Emerald eyes closed as she smiled at his face, "That's hat you get when you drop your guard." She smoothly walked past him and placed her own training tool on the wall, ignoring his whimper at his newest bump, "Whining gets you nowhere Shirou."
"Got me everywhere last night."
Much to Shirou's surprise, it was not Arturia that hit him over the head. Instead, a glaring Taiga stood over the dizzy man, eyes blazing, "I will not have my darling niece and nephews exposed to such perverse talk Shirou." Taiga continued to glare as Arturia helped him up, an amused smile on her face.
Shirou returned the glare, "You didn't have to hit me you know!" He pointed to the kendo sword in her hands, "Those things hurt!"
Arturia simply watched as both of them bickered like siblings, Taiga occasionally threatening him with the surprisingly effective weapon ion her possession. She heard the door slide open, catching her attention. As soon as she saw who it was, she smiled down, "What is it Bedivere?" She scooped up the small girl and gave her a light kiss on the cheek.
The five-year old hugged her small bear to her and looked at her mother innocently, "Auntie Rin and Uncle Archer are here. Kiri and Lan sent me to get you and Daddy."
Arturia smiled at her little girl and set her down, "Thank you Bedivere, we'll be right there." She watched the child hurry off, politely sliding the door to the dojo closed once more. Her gaze returned to the still bickering pair, clearing her throat. Both Shirou and Taiga stopped, looking over to see Arturia giving them a look that said 'enough fighting or else I'll hurt the both of you'.
Shirou was the first to risk a question, "Was that Bedivere that just came here?"
"What happened to you?" Archer laughed at the three bumps on Shirou's head as he sat down next to Rin. They had decided to sit outside and watch the children play, enjoying each other's company at the same time. It was at times like these that they could speak of the past and their friends in the other world, unconcerned about their children asking questions.
Shirou glared at Taiga, "I let my guard down and I live with a psycho teacher." He took a long drink of the glass of lemonade in his hand, smiling at a certain memory that popped up, "Do you guys remember when Arturia first tried to make lemonade?"
Archer and Rin immediately laughed, "That was the first time I saw a kitchen catch on fire from making a drink."
"I don't hear any complaints now." Arturia said pointedly, shooting Archer and Shirou stern looks.
"Doesn't beat the first brick, I mean 'meat-loaf' Rin tried to make a month after we got married." Archer yelped when Rin pinched his cheek, pulling it rather hard.
Her expression was sweet and loving on the outside, but Taiga and Shirou stared at the vein on her hand, "We don't speak of those times dear." She sang, letting Archer go.
"I happened to like that meat-loaf." Taiga shot in, grinning at the humorous conversation.
Shirou looked off, "You eat anything cooked, she's got a cast-iron stomach I tell you."
Arturia and Rin exchanged looks when their husbands went into another fit of laughter at their expense, "What about you two?" Arturia started.
"Yeah," Rin smirked as their faces lost color, "remember whenever we first left the kids with you when they were babies?" Rin and Arturia laughed, remembering the scene as if it were yesterday. They had gone out on a Lady's Night, leaving the kids with their husbands. However, Arturia came home to find Archer and Shirou wearing every bit of armor they could trace, three babies with dirty diapers watching their fathers in amusement.
Shirou leaned his head back and groaned, "I never thought I'd wish to fight Lucifer until that moment."
"Amen," Archer leaned back in his own chair, "I've seen many things in my life, but a baby with a dirty diaper trumps every demon I've ever seen." Silence fell over the five adults, each simply enjoying the company and the warm sun of summer. In time, they all watched the kids play. Kiri, Shirou's oldest son, was wrestling with Lium. The ten0year old boy had blonde hair with red tips, inheriting his dad's golden eyes. Noticing the 'Third Musketeer' was missing, all eyes searched for Lan, the second son.
"Poor guy," Archer said as he spotted Lancelot being dragged away by the twins to play house with Bedivere.
"No, I don't wanna go, please!" Lancelot clawed the grass as the twins dragged him by his feet, both giggling evilly at his distress. He silently cursed his brother, Kiritsugu, for being too focused on pinning Gillium to notice he was being kidnapped by his own cousins, 'Evil harpies,'
"I heard that," Maggie grinned down at him with a sinister shadow cast over her face.
"Scary," Rei shivered as she watched her sister begin to drag Lancelot the rest of the way by his ear. Rei sighed and looked back towards the house, smiling at what she saw, "Hello," She stared into space for a few moments before speaking again, "it's okay, I'm sure other people need your help too."
"What are you doing?" Maggie suddenly appeared behind her, causing Rei to jump, "You're not speaking to 'Tenchi', or whatever his name is, again are you?"
Rei puffed out her cheeks as she blushed, "His name is… um," Rei looked down when she discovered she couldn't remember, "I forgot his name."
"Sounds like a pedophile if he's hanging around you."
"Maggie, stop it!"
"So have you guys heard from any of the others recently?" Shirou asked as he watched Kiri slip through Gil's hold.
Rin nodded, watching the girls torture… I mean 'play', with Lan, "Lancer and Bazett called a few days ago. They're doing well in Ireland; I heard they opened a small restaurant. I would've never guessed Bazett could cook a good meal or two." She tried to remember any news about Caren, "I remember hearing something about Avenger and Caren being on assignment for the Church. One of my friends in the Magic Association told me they're doing pretty well."
"How about Ilya and Heracles?" Archer held back a laugh when he thought of the white-haired woman. The last he'd heard, she had met and married the owner of a multi-billion dollar company and 'forced' Heracles into being her bodyguard. Everyone knew she really didn't need one, seeing how she has the strength of one-hundred men.
Shirou slapped his forehead and ran his hand down his face slowly, "Where do I start? She's doing good, but I heard she practically threw some woman trying to flirt with her husband out the window of their country home. I can't blame her, he's a pretty good guy and any woman would want to steal him for his money." He chuckled, "A shame they don't know about her inhuman strength, probably be less cases of shattered bones in the local hospitals."
"What about her family?" Arturia often felt concern for Ilya after their return, remembering that she was virtually useless to the Einzbern family since the Holy Grail was gone.
"It was tense," Rin started, "but the Church and the Magic Association forbade the Einzbern family from harming her. It happened under the radar and without her husband's knowledge, but that's probably for the best." The conversation went on with a lighter tone, everyone adding another good day to their memories.
As night fell over Fuyuki, Archer and Rin went home, allowing the children to stay the night after a routine 'beg session'. In minutes, everyone was clean and ready for bed, Arturia and Shirou making their rounds to say goodnight to the kids. Taiga wished the children goodnight before leaving, practically announcing her departure to the whole city. The kids all laughed at her antics as she left, Arturia smiling along with them while Shirou shook his head in shame.
As they approached the room all the girls were staying in, Shirou felt a swell of contentment wash over him. He kissed Arturia on the cheek and sat against the doorframe as she wished the girls goodnight. He watched the scene with s soft smile, finally allowing the truth of his current life to hit him. He was happy, truly happy with his life. The nightmares that hit him after the Grail was destroyed were nothing but distant memories, the warmth from Einzheimer's presence gave him more comfort than anxiety, and knowing the truths to his past seemed less important now that he had a family to fill the void in his heart.
"Mommy," Bedivere approached Arturia with a book in hand, "will you read us a bed-time story?"
Maggie giggled and laid back, "I haven't heard one of those in years, I kind of miss it." She pouted when she felt a weight on her stomach, "I'm not a pillow Rei." Rei simply stuck her tongue out at her and turned to Arturia attentively.
"What story is it?" Rei asked, watching her aunt sit down with them to begin reading.
Shirou had seen the book and smiled instantly, remembering that it was his favorite from when he was younger. He never had it red to him at his bed-time, but he did enjoy reading it in his spare time. As Arturia opened the book to see the title, he mouthed the name along with her, "The Eagle and the Princess,"
-- Coming Summer of 2008 --
Once upon a time
The sound was loud and ominous, looming over the empty streets of the city below. Loose papers blew across the streets, adding to the rubble from partially destroyed buildings and burned structures. The chopping sound covered the rumbling of distant explosions, the noise of distant gunfire muffled by the labyrinth of abandoned structures. The grey-colored OSPREY, the latest transport aircraft, hovered over the street, attack helicopters scouting the surroundings.
A hiss was drowned out by the aircrafts propellers, the hatch opened as the sides of its frame folded up. Out of the hatch slid a large white form, the legs of its humanoid body absorbing the impact of hitting the cracked street. Its legs extended so it could stand at full height, its arms popping into its shoulder joints and raising the gun in its right hand.
There was a kingdom that fell into the hand of a terrible king
Above, the OSPREY remained still as the sides of its rear body dropped what was held on them. Lines kept the forms from falling too fast, the thick cords disconnecting when boots hit the dry pavement. The forms that dropped from the transport raised their guns and exchanged looks, watching the one with blue paint splattered on his helmet. He made a series of hand signs, signaling for them to move forward. Above, the OSPREY retreated towards the coast, disappearing when it drifted over a series of disheveled sky-scrapers.
In this kingdom, there was a small princess. This girl was gentle and kind, but was forced to escape when her kingdom fell.
A Rocket Propelled Grenade, RPG, slammed into the building to their right, forcing the soldiers to take immediate cover. Seconds of silence followed before the roaring of gunfire filled the streets, hot lead flying through the air. The giant machine searched the street, ignoring the small-arms fire pelting its armor harmlessly. Another RPG roared its way, but as it approached, a bubble of light caused it to explode before getting near the machine. Taking aim and following the smoke trail, the giant fired its gun, the large caliber bullets ripping a dark corner-store to shreds.
The soldier with blue paint made another series of hand-signals, sprinting into the street and towards another source of cover. All his men but two followed. The ones left behind slipped into the alley, immediately entering the building and checking for enemies. The sensors in their helmets picked up no signatures, meaning the building was theirs. The female member of the duo removed a black rifle from her back, approaching the window carefully. Her companion took out his binoculars and searched for the enemy, finding them held up in a two-story pub just down the street.
She fled into the forest, not knowing that a dark shadow was following her.
Ten loud bangs rang out, each a bullet aimed for someone's head. They all hit their mark, easing the barrage coming towards those still in the street. The leader made two hand signs, one a forward motion. They left their cover once more and made their way to a destroyed truck. However, a shot managed to hit the leader in the head, causing him to recoil. The soldier slowly raided his head, showing that the bullet only nicked the cheek of his helmet, "Give 'em Hell."
The shadow chased her to a cliff, ready to devour her whole. However, as it approached the princess, a large bird burst out of the trees and dove for it.
The machine in the back knelt down, a hatch on its back opening. A single missile shot out and rocketed for the pub, hitting it dead-on. However, it did not destroy the building, but cover it in fluorescent paint. The enemy looked on in wander until the attack helicopters came, raining down death from above. In seconds, the Hell Fire rockets and Gatling cannons left nothing but rubble and corpses.
It talons forced the shadow back into the woods, saving the princess from harm. She watched the bird ascend and circle around to land, revealing its golden color to her. It was a large eagle, its posture proud and strong.
"Alright RAPTORS," The leader ran a clean sweep with his helmet, "area secured." He raised the mask of his helmet to reveal sharp, golden eyes and rust-colored hair. He looked toward the building behind them and nodded, "Nice shot Tosaka,"
"Was there ever any doubt?"
The RAPTOR leader ignored the question and turned to the other members of his squad, "We clear a path to the Velvet Street Mall and meet with Landing Party Alpha, Oorah?"
"Oorah," The squad barked back and took up defensive positions, waiting for Tosaka and her partner to return.
"Please, help me I got lost when the darkness chased me." The princess cautiously asked the beautiful creature, staring into its strong, golden eyes.
"Very well, I shall help you young one. I see your heart is pure and will save this land from the taint of the darkness." The eagle responded. It remained still, allowing the princess to climb onto its back.
"What the heck?" Shirou ran his hand along the frozen glass, removing enough frost to see through it. Inside was a woman with blonde hair, her eyes closed in cryogenic sleep.
"Yo, Boss Man," A voice rang through the radio in Shirou's ear.
Shirou slowly raised his hand to the device, eyes focused on the girl in the capsule before him, "Evans, I think I just found target Arthur." He looked towards the computer-screen that displayed her medical information, examining all the data and memorizing as much as he could, "Is the kid safe?"
"Yeah, our little princess is fine. She's scared, but fine Boss Man. Listen sir, Tosaka spotted Sgt. Jackson and his squad heading for the western part of the facility, it seems they found your Tiger."
Shirou nodded at this and started punching in the code he was given, "I wish them luck, she's not exactly the ideal maiden in distress." He backed away as the capsule hissed, the tempered glass rising to reveal the rest of the woman's body. Wasting no time, Shirou hoisted her over his shoulder and started out, gun ready to shoot whatever got in his way, "This is turning into a huge freakin' mess."
Coming Summer of 2008
……… "Speak your name,"
………. "We are,"
2008… All shall truly END
June 6th look to Kat's Dream
A/N: Well, that seals things for Burning Crusade. I do hope the previews caught your interest. I plan on going sci-fi for my next project, so please give it a try and help me get used to the new genre. As for the last segment, it was indeed a teaser to my third project. On June 6th I'll post another trailer on YouTube of a potential third story, a direct sequel to this. Make no mistake, both won't be anywhere near as long as this, especially Operation Excalibur. Anyway, please review and tell me if you're interested or not and thank you all again for reading. I hope all of you have a nice day.
"I always dream about that night, the night my life changed forever. The night I gave myself to the World, the events that preceded my plunge into a life filled with… Unlimited Blade Works."